Date: 18th December 2003
Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King director Peter Jackson has hit back at Christopher Lee's claims he discovered he'd been cut from the third movie on an internet website.
The veteran Britain was left fuming after all his scenes as Saruman in Return Of The King - including a dramatic death sequence - were left on the cutting room floor. He said recently, "The only reason I'm able to say this is because it was on the internet and has been for some days. I only heard recently.
Of course I am very shocked, that's all I can say. If you want to know why you would have to ask the company New Line or director Peter Jackson and his associates because I still don't really know why." But Jackson insists the 81-year-old was warned in advance, and blames petitioning fans - 44,000 of whom signed calling for him to be reinstated - for whipping up a frenzy.
The movie-maker says, "Everything I've read on the 'net is completely wrong. There were phone calls, faxes. He's fine, but he's got a web site with fans who've started a petition, which I don't think is necessarily in h is best interest. I don't think for a second it was Christopher that drove that. I think it was just fans. It just brings a lot of publicity to it. He's not really feeling that way, but his fans are fighting the battle and it brings a lot of unnecessary publicity to it. But the scene's great and it will be on the DVD and everyone will get a chance to see it."
Jackson also justifies his decision to axe Lee's scenes - insisting the seven-minute death scene was originally intended for second film The Two Towers, and only considered for Return Of The King if there was room in the final cut. Jackson adds, "It was never in The Return Of The King. The Saruman scene was one of many scenes we cut. The longer the film was, the less strong it got because you felt like you'd been there for too long and it lost its impact."
Source: Press Release